Warsaw (Oct. 26)
(By Our Warsaw Correspondent)
A stirring appeal to Marshal Pilsudski to save Polish Jewry from complete economic ruin by immediately abolishing the economic disabilities under which the Jews in that country are still suffering, was made here by Sholom Asch, the famous Jewish writer, in an open letter published by him a few days ago in the Warsaw “Hajnt.” In eloquent, moving terms, the noted writer calls Pilsudski’s attention to the unbearable tax system and other difficulties, which were originally established for the purpose of ousting the Jews from the economic field and which today under the new regime of the Marshal still continue, pulling the Jewish tradesmen and workers into an abyss. Expressing his own admiration of Pilsudski as Poland’s great emancipator, Sholom Asch calls upon him to establish complete economic equality for the Polish Jews. and thereby live up fully to his high role as liberator. Sholom Asch’s letter reads in part:
“The same sword which fought Poland’s external enemies, has also combatted the enemy within the gates and has freed Poland’s spirit. This gives us Jews a right to place our hope in you, Marshal, and to turn to you with our problems and needs.
“Unfortunately there still exist in Poland today laws created by wicked people so that the lowly and oppressed might be oppressed still further….
“If I were asked where the most urgent reform is needed in Poland today. I would without hesitation reply: in its tax system. I am not an expert in the matter of taxes, finance is not my specialty. Yet during the brief period which I spent in Poland, I have been able to feel, understand and respond to the needs of the country, perhaps better than those who have been resident here for many years and have become indifferent to many things.
“The tax system which exists in Poland today was not created in accordance with the conditions of the country nor are they suited to those conditions, but it is result of ‘deals’ arrived at between the leaders of various parties, people who have no understanding for fundamental national problems but only for narrow party issues. Cruel, brutal, merciless, un-Christian and inhuman, is this system. Its only purpose is to exterminate countless families, to rob women and children of their bread, to sow the seeds of bitterness and anguish in the hearts of millions in the new Polish Republic–to cause pain, tears and suffering among the poorest of the poor. For how else can we term a tax system which weighs down to the ground people who have nothing to eat, and when the collector comes to them he has nothing to take, unless perhaps their rags and their unwashed, half-naked children, playing in the rubbish heaps. I have seen sights which curdled my blood and filled me with bitterness–forgive, Marshal!
“Jews are asked to pay taxes which, even if they were to sell their very last poor belongings, they could not pay in a decade. I have seen the collector take away the only bedding from a poor house, and he took the Sabbath candles…”
Referring to the Jewish “small-trading,” against which criticism is levelled, Sholom Asch proceeds: “Other methods more human and more just can be employed to combat this small-trading, and this we expect from you, Marshal; the whole Jewish world here and abroad expects this from you. These methods are: to open wide the doors of government positions to the Jews; to employ Jews in various public works; not to discriminate between Christian and Jew in granting concessions; not to oust Jewish workers when the government takes over control of factories and other enterprises; to help direct Jewish laborers into factories and great industries–in a word, open other opportunities for the Jews, and you will then see how Jewish small-trading will decrease and eventually shrink to normal proportions.
“The world expects this from you, the Jews are placing their hope in you!
“Not to destroy Jewish trade should be Poland’s aim, but to normalize it; this can be accomplished only by making productive those parts of the Jewish masses who, through no fault of theirs, but because of conditions, were drawn into a whirlpool of fruitless small trading; not to undermine mercilessly, but on the contrary, to help develop and strengthen normal Jewish trading. All hopes of the Jews are pinned on you.
“We ask this not only in behalf of the Jews, but for the good and well-being of the whole country, in which we have been living together for many hundreds of years, which is our painsaturated home for centuries, which has been so cruelly battered by enemies at home and abroad, and which you, noble Emancipator, with your heroism and blood, defended and liberated. . .”
Sholom Asch’s letter has aroused great interest and made a deep impression in all circles and it is hoped that his eloquent plea will not remain unheeded by the chief of the Polish State.